- Philips Sonicare 2 SeriesBest Overall
- Oral-B – Pro 1000 Electric ToothbrushBest Budget
- Philips Sonicare DiamondCleanBest Feature-Packed Toothbrush
- Sonicare For Kids Sonic electric toothbrushBest Kids Toothbrush
The Philips Sonicare 2 Series is our top pick for offering an effective clean without feeling gimmicky. As a sonic toothbrush, it’s brushing head vibrates rapidly to help remove plaque. Our testers reported that this style caused the least amount of irritation to their gums when compared to oscillating models from brands like Oral-B. It has a two-minute timer, divided into four 30-second segments, to ensure you brush long enough to effectively clean your teeth and gums but not so long that you damage them. At $70, the Sonicare 2 is a solid investment in improving your dental health.
The Oral-B Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush is also a great choice — it cleans just as well as the Sonicare 2 Series, but may be a little harsher for sensitive gums. As an oscillating model, it vibrates a bit slower than our top pick, which means the toothbrush will be less likely to tickle your teeth — a potentially uncomfortable sensation typical of sonic toothbrushes. The Oral-B also offers a built-in quad-pacer that breaks its two-minute timer into four 30 second intervals for even brushing throughout your mouth. At $40 the Oral-B 1000 is also incredibly affordable.
If you want an electric toothbrush with every top-of-the-line feature, the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Sonic Electric Toothbrush is an excellent choice. The toothbrush uses a simple two-button interface and includes some technique-improving features, like a pressure sensor that lets you know when you’re brushing too hard. In addition, it also has a compatible app that displays a 3D model of teeth to help track your brushing progress in real-time. It even displays an alert if your brushing strokes are too wide — a common technique flaw. The greatest downside is the $230 price tag. But if you’re looking for the most advanced toothbrush on the market, the DiamondClean is for you.
We love the Sonicare For Kids Sonic Electric Toothbrush electric toothbrush for taking the fuss out of brushing sessions. With bright colors, stickers, and a compatible phone app, it helps kids stay engaged while they brush. It even managed to make our young tester excited to brush again the next morning. A one-minute timer that gradually increases to two minutes will help your young ones get used to longer brushing periods, and we appreciate that the interactive features mean the brush teaches, rather than forces, better brushing habits. Kids will eventually outgrow it, but for $50 you can lay the groundwork for a future of healthy smiles.
How We Found the Best Electric Toothbrush
The truth is, the dentists we spoke to all agreed that how you brush is more important than what you brush with. Proper brushing technique (and flossing) are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. So it’s certainly possible to clean your teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush, and if you and your dentist are happy with these results, there’s probably no need to switch. But if your pearly whites have room to improve, an electric toothbrush’s oscillating or vibrating battery-powered bristles make it easier to maintain good technique to remove even more plaque.
Dr. Katia Friedman, dentist and owner of Friedman Dental Group, explained that, “When we brush by hand, we average about 300 strokes per minute, which isn’t bad. But electric toothbrushes can average up to 31,000 to 40,000 strokes per minute. One of the main benefits of the vibrations or oscillations is that it cleans your teeth more thoroughly — it eliminates plaque and bacteria better than a manual toothbrush due to the increased number of strokes that it provides.”
An electric toothbrush certainly sounds appealing, but amid all the noise of manufacturer promises, how do you know which features are actually worthwhile? We asked our dental experts what a good electric toothbrush should offer. They all agreed that first and foremost, it should encourage you to improve your brushing habits. That means the best should include features, like a two-minute timer (more on this later), that have an actual impact on your brushing technique as well as easy maneuverability for those hard to reach areas.
The biggest difference in brushes is motion: oscillating or sonic.
Electric toothbrushes come in two different styles — oscillating or sonic. There’s debate about which type offers a better clean for your teeth, but it turns out choosing a style largely depends on comfort and personal preference.
Oscillating toothbrushes have round heads that rotate back and forth and average 7,500-8,000 strokes per minute. They are less likely to cause the characteristic “teeth-tickling” sensation of sonic models, but are generally louder and can cause discomfort for those with sensitive gums.
Sonic toothbrushes have longer heads that resemble traditional toothbrushes and vibrate up to 40,000 strokes per minute. Dr. Glassman told us they also incorporate “fluid dynamics which is a secondary cleaning action that extends the brush’s reach.” Translation? A sonic toothbrush’s scrubbing can reach farther than its oscillating counterparts (even if it does tickle a bit on the way).
So which is better at cleaning teeth? The truth is: they’re both great. Our experts had differing opinions, and there’s evidence for the superior effectiveness of both oscillating and sonic brushes. The dentists all agreed on is that more research is needed for a definitive answer: Most academic studies to date have simply focused on the different results between manual and electric toothbrushes. At the end of the day, both oscillating and sonic brushes will work well as long as they’re paired with proper brushing technique. Dr. Ben Lawlor of Maine Cosmetic Dentistry told us, “If you’re using an electric toothbrush that stimulates the gum, you’re good.” So rather than trying to pick a side based on inconclusive research, we focused on finding toothbrushes from both styles that had our must-have features and were celebrated for comfort.
We pitted the big brands against some industry disrupters.
There are two brands that dominate the electric toothbrush market: Oral-B, known for its oscillating brushes, and Philips Sonicare, famous for sonic brushes. We scoured best-of lists from sites like Engadget and Dental Dorks, and consumer reviews on Amazon to find the most highly-rated toothbrushes from each brand. We made sure to include brushes spanning a wide range of features and price points. We also brought in their most popular options suitable for young children — colorful, easy-to-hold brushes that play songs. To see if some lesser-known brands could compete with the two industry giants, we also included top-rated toothbrushes from some aspiring industry disrupters, like Foreo, Greater Goods and Jim Ellis.
Some features can truly help you brush better — others probably won’t.
The more bells and whistles your toothbrush has, the more expensive it will be, so it’s important to think about what features you’ll actually use. Sure, gum massaging modes and phone apps sound appealing, but if you’re not going to use these features daily you shouldn’t have to pay for them. We asked our experts which features were essential for improving brushing technique and which might be useful but not necessary. They narrowed it down to the following options:
Two-minute timer: The single most recommended feature, a two-minute timer takes the guesswork out of your brushing sessions to ensure your teeth get enough time under the bristles. Brushing under the American Dental Association’s recommended two minutes can result in a less effective clean. Dr. Lawlor told us, “patients say they brush for three to five minutes, but when they brush in front of me it will be less than a minute.” Most electric toothbrushes now offer this reality-check timer as a standard feature, regardless of price.
Rechargeable battery: A rechargeable battery saves you the cost of replacing traditional batteries during an electric toothbrush’s lifespan — at least 3 years. In addition, it decreases the risk of a dead toothbrush and the loss of electric brushing’s benefits. Most electric toothbrushes offer a rechargeable battery that lasts, on average, two weeks per charge.
Note: We did bring in one toothbrush without a rechargeable battery, the Quip (which does send replacement batteries). One of two top-rated subscription brushes (the other was the Goby) we brought in to see how these services, which send replacement heads every 3 months, measured up against traditional models. (Spoiler alert: We weren’t impressed).
Pressure Sensor: A pressure sensor will notify you if you are brushing too hard, which Dr. Glassman explained “can irritate the gums, causing soreness or bleeding. Over a long period of time, this kind of heavy brushing could cause conditions such as gum recession.” Highly recommended by our experts, a pressure sensor will buzz, flash a light, or even pause brushing to let you know you need to ease up a little. In theory, a pressure sensor is great for improving technique, but sometimes it can take an excessive amount of pressure to activate them. Since this isn’t a foolproof feature, we didn’t make it a dealbreaker, but we brought in several brushes with pressure sensors across different price points to see how this feature ranked with our testers.
Quad-pacer: A quad-pacer splits the two-minute brushing timer into four 30-second intervals. This allows you to focus on brushing one quadrant of your mouth at a time for an even brushing session. Most quad pacers will either use short pauses in vibration or produce a short series of pulses to notify you when it’s time to switch.
Brushing modes: Different brushing modes — like teeth whitening, gum massaging, and pro-cleaning — change the number of oscillations or vibrations per minute. However, we couldn’t find concrete evidence that these different modes were doing what they promised. In contrast, studies show that simply brushing for two minutes with proper technique, using effective toothpaste, and flossing will live up to the promise of better dental health.
High strokes per minute: Electric toothbrushes can move as rapidly as 40,000 strokes per minute. While higher stroke numbers can make an electric toothbrush more effective than a manual brush, Dr. Friedman explained “at some point, extra brushstrokes aren’t really adding any benefits. [Around] 8,000 brushstrokes is enough to achieve the maximum level of plaque removal.” In simple terms, higher numbers look nice, but moving from 8,000 (oscillating) to 31,000 or 40,000 (sonic) brushstrokes won’t really have an effect on your teeth and gums.
Apps: Bluetooth connectivity and compatible phone apps that track your brushing habits are becoming increasingly popular with high-end models. It’s a neat feature, but a basic two-minute timer also encourages better technique and speaking with your dentist is really the best way to get updates on your dental health. The one exception is with kids’ brushes — apps can be helpful for encouraging children to brush. In fact, some brushing apps were so fun that children wouldn’t stop playing (manufacturers had to update their apps to make the game unplayable between brushes).
After comparing consumer and expert reviews about everything from vibration comfort to sound level, we ended up with 16 highly-regarded models from a variety of brands to test for ourselves.
See the Original Article at Reviews.com